How to Survive Disruption in Restaurant Industry


Organizations that have multiple approaches based on each channel of delivery successfully pay the right amount of attention to each channel and start with the customer first.

They approach customer feedback not channel by channel but rather by putting customers first and understanding how they interact with the organization across one or many channels.

For example, these organizations determine which channels customers use most often, how often they use each channel, how many channels customers use and any preferences for a specific channel based on a certain demand.

Once organizations understand customers’ experiences, they can identify the key factors in customers’ engagement at certain touchpoints.

Then, organizations can share these points of customer engagement with employees so that they have a clear understanding of what actions they can take to increase customer engagement.

2. Prioritize logistics and organization.

Adding additional modes of service can create problems for restaurant managers.

Many restaurants were designed with the traditional dining experience in mind — not to serve as a hub for takeout orders and third-party pickups.

Understanding how the restaurant runs from the perspective of customers in the restaurant and those picking up orders is crucial.

How the restaurant operates in these channels affects parking, waiting areas, food preparation times and packaging.

Reviewing traditional standard operating procedures with these new methods in mind and, most importantly, with a focus on customer needs and expectations and convenience, ensures that a restaurant can shift its delivery methods without affecting valuable customer experiences.

In addition, making the standard operating procedures easy and straightforward for both managers and front-line employees is imperative.

With new channels come the need to revise standard operating procedures and update old systems and process.

Restaurants should make sure that new procedures and channels are consistent.

3. Segment your marketing and feedback.

Traditionally, the restaurant industry has relied on customers completing opt-in surveys at the bottom of receipts for feedback about their experiences.

In some cases, this feedback is linked to a specific restaurant location and shared with that location.

In the future, this form of feedback requires more nuanced analysis.

Restaurants need to know if the person who completed the survey linked to a certain location dined in, ordered takeout (and if they did was a third-party deliverer involved), or ordered catering.

These differences are vital to properly using customer feedback for improvement.

Knowing customers’ expectations as they experience a restaurant through its different service channels is vital to understanding the performance of all segments of the restaurant.

A lunch catering order with food that is cold or arrives late will turn customers away from not only ordering catering again but also dining in the restaurant. However, a perfectly delivered catering order could be an organization’s greatest marketing tactic — attracting both new and old customers to the restaurant from an experience that someone else paid for.

Restaurants need to eliminate these examples of engagement destroyers to retain customers and increase their engagement.

4. Enhance customer engagement experiences in traditional channels before expanding.

With increased customer expectations and serious competitive pressures, restaurants might feel pressure to deliver services in all types of channels such as:

  • dining in the restaurant
  • takeout
  • prepackaged meals
  • catering
  • delivery

But mediocre performance in any new channels will only hurt a restaurant’s overall brand.

To engage customers, restaurants should provide enhanced customer engagement experiences in traditional channels.

Refining what they currently do well to do better will allow restaurants to not only maximize each customer experience regardless of channel but also boost all revenue sources.

Rather than rushing to meet the latest industry trends, restaurant need to deliver near-flawless customer service.

“Doing it all” won’t provide the competitive edge restaurants expect, but delivering near-perfect customer experiences at every service channel and touchpoint will.


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